High Divide Trail is a 17.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Forks, Washington that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.
Directions from junction of Highway 101 and Sol Duc River Road: Drive southward on the Sol Duc River Road 14 miles to roads end and the Sol Duc Trailhead. From this trailhead walk southeastward along the Sol Duc Trail less than a mile to the Canyon Creek Trail. Cross the river and hike 3 miles southward to Deer Lake and the beginning of the High Divide Trail.
To date this was the most rewarding backpacking experience I've ever had. I did the loop in two days and that's not very difficult. But, you'll wish you spent more time there once you're done. It is one of the crown jewels of ONP. If I go back, it will be a three nights minimum trip. The views of Mount Olympus and the Hoh River, as well as the Seven Lakes Basin, should have you completely captivated. I second Mitch's recommendation to hike this clockwise (camping at either Sol Duc Park or Heart Lake on the first night) and doing the loop in the latter half of summer to avoid using the ice axe and crampons. There is one tricky stretch of this loop approaching Bogachiel Peak that would be tricky when covered with snow and potentially ice.
Awesome. Highly recommend three days for backpacking to not rush through the experience. We did it in two
Awe inspiring, breathtaking one loop that has it all- wildflowers, waterfalls, ridge line, mount Olympus snow capped peaks, deep and teal blue lakes, wild life
Everything you've heard about the High Divide Loop is true. Rainforests with massive trees. Foot log crossed rivers. Two miles of spectacular ridgewalking. Alpine meadows with lakes, views of Mt. Olympus. Check, check, check. You wont walk up on any glaciers or hot springs on this trail, but its just about everything else you would want.
Most everyone does this trail counter clockwise, but try it from the other direction. That way you get to spend your first night at Sol Duc Park! All the campsites at Sol Duc Park are very nice, well kept and as a bonus, you can be lulled to sleep by the nearby stream at three of them. If you go in the summer, expect snow to still be on the ground up on the ridge. They had an unusual amount of snow last winter, so I brought an ice axe and had to use it on and off. Keep in mind this was during the last week of July!
Another nice place to camp is Silver Snag, which is a series of flat, nicely groomed campsites that melt out mid summer. Its about halfway from Heart lake to the Lunch Lake cutoff right on the top of the High Divide itself. Great views out your tent door of Mt. Olympus. We spent two nights, but three or four nights would allow you to make a side trips down into the Seven Lakes Basin and up the Cat Creek Primitive Trail and camp there.
Tips. Go late in summer to avoid frozen lakes and snow in the Basin, the whole ice axe thing and snow obscuring the high trail. Its not difficult to keep to this trail with patchy snow once you're on the ridge, so don't let that stop you. Be prepared to use an ice axe though. Know the weather. If it gets foggy. You will need good route finding skills. Don't miss the short side trip out to the top of Bogachial Peak. Is it technical? It's a 5-min walk up a manicured path to a nearly 360 degree view. Dont rush this loop. This trail is as good as it gets. Leave no trace.